Today is a good day. The Minnesota Twins are in the playoffs! Having lived in Minnesota for 11 of the past 22 years, I hold some allegiance to their sports teams. But this allegiance is not held equally for all Minnesota teams.
The Timberwolves are my favorite for many reasons (basketball is the best sport ever invented, KG is a saint, Mad Dog has a blog) but mostly it's because the team's 1990s ascent coincided with my bouncing back and forth between Minneapolis and Los Angeles like an overly nostalgic boomerang and the Timberwolves acted as the one consistent anchor, from their rock bottom in '93 and '94 to their disappointing playoff appearances 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, etc. years later to the near-glory that was 2004 (why did you have to go and get yourself injured, Sam?)
Next on the list would be Twins, the only recent champion in Minnesota sports (1987, 1991). They play in the ugliest stadium in America. Their icons leave the game for semi-tragic lives and deaths. But they're the Twins! And in September and October I love baseball. This year the Twins are still in it, as are the Dodgers who I've begrudgingly taken a liking to, a process that's been 18 years in the making. The Dodgers have 5 days to make something happen and no my heart wouldn't be torn in half if the Twins and Dodgers play in the World Series as they did back in 1965, when I was a month-old newborn eating mango chunks on a veranda in an Alexandria grotto. I'd just watch the games and proclaim my joy because it is important throughout your life to proclaim your joy.
The teams from my twice-alma mater, the University of Minnesota would come next. The Golden Gophers haven't had much success or failure so I haven't had to stir up emotion either way. There was the Final Four for the 1997 basketball team but apparently due to NCAA sanctions for illegal "tutoring" and other activities, that never happened.
Then come the Vikings. I don't know why my support for the football team is half-hearted. I like football. I watch it often. But my disappointment when the Vikings lost the NFC Championship game after the '98 season was not nearly as steep as what I felt when the Timberwolves traded Pooh Richardson away in 1994. I heard the announcement while exiting the eastbound 101 freeway at Laurel Canyon in Studio City. It was a Wednesday. Yes I remember where I was 12 years ago when a bad basketball team traded away a disappointing point guard. Anyway, this year's Vikings are the most boring team in the NFL and I would be aesthetically offended if they won more than 7 games.
Finally, I heard there was a hockey team called the Wild but it's hockey so why bother and oh I forgot about the Lynx (WNBA). Put them in between the Wolves and the Vikings.
Usually I warn people in the first sentence of a blog entry if all I'm going to talk about is sports. Today I chose not to because sometimes you have to have your pudding if all you want is your meat. Finally, speaking of sports, whatever you do, DON'T look at this.